Thursday, October 30, 2008

"I was born that way... so it's OK" (Josef Fritzi, "gays," and us)

Why do homosexuals work so hard to say that their disordered affections are genetic, that their "orientation" is determined by DNA? It's been transparent to most, I think, that the notion of determinism removes moral onus. If you "don't have to be that way," then you carry the responsibility for being that way. If it isn't a choice, then you're unaccountable. The activists don't want that; they want acceptance, enabling free indulgence of their perversion. Ergo....
Italic
They gin up scientific studies (which later prove to be bogus) locating the cause of homosexuality in the brain, somewhere. Mission Accomplished.

This tactic clashes with the other arm of their public assault on public moral borders. This approach labors hard to portray the homosexual lifestyle as beautiful, happy, wonderful, and... well, gay! (IOW, you'd be nuts not to choose it if you could.) If only people would stop being so mean to these happy, carefree souls, everything would be peachy.

Increasingly, Biblically-faithful Christians have begun to mount a different response than proving homosexuality not to be hard-wired. We've focused on arguing that it doesn't really matter, morally. The specific case I've made, a number of times, is that we're all hard-wired for sin.

For instance, it's been often indicated that men are not by nature monogamous. Yet most have not argued that this rationalizes adultery. "I was born that way" isn't a great cover. Don't try it at home, or anywhere else.

I've also made the argument, "If that behavior is acceptable, because it's natural to you — then why doesn't the same argument work for lying, theft, child molesting, rape?" Add a sprinkling of Darwinian evolution, subtract the Biblical worldview, and I think you have an air-tight theoretical case.

And so now along comes a monstrous figure named Josef Fritzi. I'll let you read of his abominations here, rather than rehearsing them.

In explaining himself to a psychologist, Fritzi says that he was "was born to be a rapist."

Now, my questions for homosexual agenda activists, so desperate to force their particular perversion down the gullet of every society on the planet:
  1. Can you prove Frtizi wasn't "born to be a rapist"?
  2. If he was "born to be a rapist," does that make Frtizi's behavior okay?
  3. If not, why not? Because it's immoral? How do you know?
  4. If your argument is that what feels natural must be right, how would you tell Josef Fritzi that what he is doing is not right?
Biblical Christianity has the whole answer.

Might people be born inclined to perverse desires? Oh, yes. Not might, but are — without exception.

Originally, man was designed to represent God (Genesis 1:26-28). That is what is natural, in that it is what we were created and designed for: to be a whole, fully-integrated reflection of the glory of God. But while "God made man upright...they have sought out many schemes" (Ecclesiastes 7:29). The first, righteous man plunged into sin (Romans 5:12).

Sin brought dis-integration. Sin marred the image. The fall into sin hard-wired all of Adam's progeny into a predisposition in the wrong direction, body and soul.

And so, the truth is, we're all born with perverse desires. We're all born dominated by the desire to be gods, to make our wills absolute, to turn away from the true God and to our own ways (Genesis 3:5; 5:3; Romans 3:1-18).

Those desires for self-deification are perverse desires, they're unnatural desires. They are every bit as deviant as the desires of the rapist, the murderer, the child molester, the homosexual. In fact, they are worse, because they are the fountainhead of all those other desires (Romans 1:18-32).

You look at Josef Fritzi, and you recoil in horror. You see a wreck. Fritzi needs something, badly.

But what Fritzi needs is the same as the moralistic atheist, the New Age navel-gazer, the fuzzy PoMo, or the walking question-mark, who reads these words. Fritzi needs reconciliation to God. He needs his sins to be dealt with; but not only that, he needs the womb of those sins plucked out and replaced. He needs a new heart, a new nature. He needs to be born again.

Fritzi needs what you need, what we all need. He needs what can be found only in Jesus Christ. Only Jesus Christ was born without those perverse desires. Only Jesus Christ was motivated, 24/7/365, by pure, God-given, genuinely natural desires for the glory and will of God above all. Only Jesus Christ was without sin, and with the perfect righteousness we lack.

And so, Jesus Christ could offer himself as a sacrifice for sins, a sacrifice of infinite value and supernatural efficacy.

Interested in knowing more?

Read this.

38 comments:

Al said...

When someone says to me, “I was born this way” it is an open door for just what you have put forward here. It is good to know that God overcame our birth order, our proclivity to pornography, our adulterous hearts and our debased minds.

Thanks for this Dan.

al sends

Mesa Mike said...

Suppose that homosexual orientation is in fact genetic.
Now suppose that this condition can be tested for in utero.

Anybody see where I'm going with this?

Rachael Starke said...

Now, Dan, this is kind of sneaky of you, when we're barely trying to keep our heads above the giant tsunami of political-goodness you hit us with this morning, and on a day when I'm frantically trying to get my girls' tutus and fairy wings put together for um, Reform-een...

I have a couple of friends with homosexual issues (one is a believer, so he's my brother in Christ who is battling with the sin of same-sex-attraction; the other is not a believer, and so has just abandoned himself to homosexuality - big difference). I also have a family history that includes signficant mental illness, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. So, the intersection of how the Fall corrupted our physical bodies and brains along with our spiritual selves is a continuing topic of interest for me.

I agree with 100% of your basic argument - that all sin is inherently genetic and the answer to it is the divine transformation of the heart through repentance and faith in Christ. What I'm not so certain of are what the specifics are of that particular transformation are for someone who goes from being dead to Christ to dead to sin spiritually, but still living in the same body/brain. A lot of Christian people and ministries who address the homosexuality issue seem to consider only heterosexual marriage and child bearing, rather than, for some, a commitment to celibacy and the pursuit of a transformed inner thought life. One seems to argue for no biological component at at all, the other other argues for some biological component, but one that is subordinate to the greater spiritual component, the component that has now been divinely empowered by the Holy Spirit to subdue the biological component.

That's probably not as clear as it could be, but I've really got to get back to my tutu construction project and won't be able to read through comments until later tonight.

Staci at Writing and Living said...

Well said. When Christians try to argue against homosexuality on the basis that it's just a choice, it seems to imply that we can WILL ourselves to be good. We need to be reminding ourselves that without Christ, we have no hope.

I have a few childhood friends who are now living the homosexual lifestyle. I was saddened when I learned that they had "come out," but I was never surprised. I do think that this is a struggle that some people are born with.

I have a theory that most mothers know when their children are toddlers some of the sins that each particular child will struggle with throughout his or her life (hair-trigger temper, excessive worry, etc.) Like you said, we're just hard wired that way.

chrish said...

One thing that I have considered is that a celibate and chaste person who feels same-sex attraction is no different than a person who is celibate and chaste and feels opposite-sex attraction; the orientation is simply the direction in which each person would fall.

chrish said...

No different, that is, in the area of sin.

RT said...

Excellent post. Predilection to sin (or even, may I venture, predetermination to sin) provides no relief from moral responsiblity. But I am interested in your insight into why we seem to focus on "lifestyle" sins, particularly sexual lifestyle sins. Is it mere prurience? Or are we driven by our visceral reactions? Whether or not one sin is more repugnant to God or not, clearly we humans find some sins more sinful than others and I wonder on what basis we do this. I certainly know people (maybe this is a confession) who are gluttons, whose lifestyle is one of gluttony (or avarice, or selfishness, or anger, or you name it) yet we don't as Christians seem to make as much of a political fuss over these lifestyles as we do over homosexuality. Much of the financial crisis now facing our country is the product of avaricious, greedy, selfish lifestyles multiplied by the thousands, indeed millions, yet we devote far more time to our condemnation of the homosexual lifestyle lived by really just a very few people. I would not ever be guilty of trying to justify that lifestyle, nor is it even valid argument to excuse one sin by pointing to another, but I am interested in knowing if there is any Biblical or other justification for our (forgive me) unnatural focus on certain sins over others. Your post, I hasten to add, was not guilty of this (which is part of the reason I liked it) but it certainly reminds me of the tendency I have observed elsewhere and have been guilty of myself.

Daryl said...

RT,

I'd suggest that a good part of the reason is that the Bible places a "premium" on sexual sin and there seems to be a progression in the area of sin which leads to sexual sin. That area of life strikes more at the core of who we are than, say, gluttony.
We self-identify as "straight" or "gay" not "angry" or "gluttonous". I think there's a reason for that.
What did Paul say? Other sins are done outside the body but in sexual sin we sin against our body.

On the level of condemnation you are right, all sins are equal. One the level of impact I think there is a hierarchy of sins.

Rachael Starke said...

I heard Al Mohler give a really helpful insight on the issue of why God calls out sexual sin, and homosexuality in particular, as an abomination. He said (paraphrasing) that the committing of these sins outwardly depict most clearly the inner rebellion of a heart against God's loving design for His creation, particularly people made in His image.

So while many of us may be, in our own flesh, uninclined to that particular category of sin, and even in our flesh offended by them, our spirtually transformed hearts should concur that our (fleshly) hearts are just as corrupt. Ant that should transform the way we see both ourselves, and those that struggle (or don't struggle) with sexual sin.

RT said...

Daryl:

It is certainly observable that sexual identity is both self-recognized and the determining factor in the modus vivendi of many, if not most, human beings. This, however, begs rather than answers the question. I am more inclined to think that because of the importance of sex to us humans, we tend to search diligently for it in the mind of God, rather than the reverse. Of course, if I thought (as you evidently do) that the Bible placed a premium on sexual sins then I would accept that answer as final. I simply have not been left with that impression, although admittedly this may be merely a matter of opinion upon which reasonable minds may diverge. In any event, the gravamen of St. Paul's argument in Corinthians seems rather the reverse of your point: He seems to be saying that, unlike other sins whose effects are public and universally recognized, the effect of sexual immorality is against ourselves and our own bodies which, as he points out, belong to God. Thus the sin that appears to be harmless is in fact not harmless. I don't see that he is arguing that it is worse, just that it is as bad as other, more public, sins. But then, of course I am no Biblical scholar which no doubt Dan will soon point out.

Jay said...

I think the reason many gay people become offended when compared to child molesters or adulterers or rapists is because they are looking at things from a secular moral viewpoint. From such a viewpoint, surely two consenting adults (no matter what their sex) are more moral than one who would take advantage of a child, brutalize a woman, or cheat on their spouse. Rosie O'Donnell is more moral than Josef Fritzi, from a secular (and legal) standard.

Peter Ould is a good "post-gay" writer (you should really check out his stuff), and one of his strongest and most well-thought out arguments is that the only real case a Christian has against an unrepentant homosexual is a theological one. Using arguments about health, morality, psychology, etc. simply fall on their face. Even if they might be true for a lot of homosexuals (and I won't say one way or another if they are), the very existence of a single gay person who is healthy, monogamous, charitable, and secularly moral disproves them. Still, that person would fall under the wrath of God. Our only real argument is theological.

Also, to go along with what Rachael said (hi Rachael!), I don't think it's necessary to disregard what biological components there could be. For starters, they aren't all bogus. You should look up the blog of Dr. Warren Throckmorton (www.wthrockmorton.com), a conservative Christian psychologist with a pretty fair and balanced view of research coming out in this field. He doesn't compromise on what he thinks is sin, but he does realize that the more we know about human sexuality and how it works, the better we can minister and disciple those who are dealing with homosexuality.

I know that the psychoanalytic theories about causation promoted by ministries like Exodus International don't fit with me (like, at all). Maybe they are useful for some SSA men and women, but for me, it just hasn't worked out that way. I honestly think there could be a more biological basis for my same-sex attraction, and this has led me to pursue celibacy as my primary option, and has generally given me a lot of peace of mind and focus in that area. Just a few thoughts. :)

Kate said...

I have often wondered why Christians generally find homosexuality more repugnant than, say, heterosexual sex outside of marriage. Both occur (presumably) between consenting adults. Both, as has been pointed out, are secularly moral choices, particularly if the parties involved are monogamous. I have a gay great-uncle. He is a very nice man. He hosts a Thanksgiving party at his house every year, and he always gives generous gifts for graduations, weddings, births, etc. He is a retired English professor. He would never harm anyone, in a legal sense.

However, and this is a big however, it is impossible for me, a Christian, not to recognize his chosen lifestyle as sinful. But is it any more sinful than my cousin who has lived with his girlfriend for 10 years without getting married? Is it more sinful than my uncle who has been separated from his wife for several years, and now lives with another woman? I don't think so. All are guilty of sin (as are we). All are in need of salvation (as are we).

I also wonder, is it a difference in degree? Are practicing homosexuals more "given over" to their sin than hetero fornicators and adulterers? Have they walked further away from God? After all, hetero sex was created by God to fulfill His purpose of being fruitful and multiplying, and for our pleasure. Gay sex is a perversion of that purpose.

I'm just thinking "out loud," so please forgive my rambling. Other thoughts?

Libbie said...

I honestly think that homosexuality is the issue it is today because homosexual activism has made it so. The church must answer the question the current age throws at it. When there is a highly mobilized group of people campaigning for the general acceptance of adultery, and for special rights for adulterers, I would certainly expect to see the church taking a stand against it - but most people are still quite shame-faced about adultery.

Oh, and I agree with Jay (and by extension Peter Ould) about the objection to homosexuality being primarily theological, as is the objection to a great many of the sins accepted in modern society.

CR said...

Kate:I have often wondered why Christians generally find homosexuality more repugnant than, say, heterosexual sex outside of marriage.

The key operative phrase here is homosexuality being an exchange of natural relations (sex between a man and woman) for unnatural relations (sex between men and men and women and women) - hence very repugnant because it goes against the natural order of things. It's not that homosexuality is less of a sin than others it's that Paul is very specific in the kinds of exchanges going on. Idolatry is the exchange of God for the creation and other sins listed at the end of the chapter is God given over to a debased mind where people do things which they ought not to do. All of these are serious. The reason why homosexuality is seen as very repugnant is because as Paul says, it is unnatural.

Jay said...

CR: Don't you think that we were naturally supposed to have sexual intimacy only with our wives and husbands, though? I mean, I don't think Paul specifically calls out homosexuality when he mentions sexual sin. He mentions that such immorality, in general, is a sin against one's body and the natural order which God has set up, an order which includes marriage and fidelity within that marriage.

One of the biggest encouragements to me as an SSA Christian has been that I am no more broken or depraved than my straight brothers and sisters in Christ. My struggles for purity are no different than theirs, though perhaps there is an added issue of potential lifelong celibacy that I have to deal with (but that issue's more about effectively dealing with loneliness than anything else).

I'm not saying that homosexual sin isn't unnatural. However, I was under the impression that all sin is counter to God's original plan, and thus, it's all unnatural. The way you talk makes one think that you view Christians with SSA as a more "debased" group than straight ones, even though we fight for purity just as hard (if not more).

CR said...

Jay,

I'm sorry if you interpret what I say as viewing one group as more debased as another. (I don't know actually what the letters SSA stand for, but I remember you admitting your struggle).

I was trying to address Kate's question of why Christians see homosexuality as more repugnant than fornication between men and women. I would just again point out to the words and phrases that the apostle Paul uses for the type of exchange that homosexuality is: an exchange for natural relations for unnatural relations. They were, Paul writes, consumed with passion for one another. It is the Lord giving them over to dishonorable passions - no conflict in their heart and mind, no struggle, just a giving over to their dishonorable passions which Paul states. It is more repugnant because it is a passion that goes against the natural relations between men and women which even unbelievers can understand. The Lord calls bestiality in the OT unnatural also, He calls it a disgrace, I believe, an abomination - I don't have my Bible in front of me.

The type of exchange that idolatry is: an exchange of God for the creation. Now it is a wicked sin it is in fact, if I may say, the stain of original sin, because as Dan mentioned, we all want to be our own gods. It is the first exchange that we all struggle with because of indwelling sin and will continue to struggle with until death. But you know, idolatry is a very much more repugnant sin to the Lord than others. You read the Old Testament, and you tell me, of all the sins of Israel, (and there were many), what was THE sin He hated most and unleashed His wrath the most? Was it adultery, no, many of the patriarchs were polygamists (doesn't excuse such a wicked sin). The one sin that the Lord really, really despised of and unleashed His greater wrath and was most disgusted with, was Israel's idolatry. It's a different type of exchange, Jay.

I would also argue what you said about your struggles are "no" different from others. We all have very different struggles. I remember reading something about Ted Bundy when he was describing his insatiable desire to murder the women he murdered. It was weird because he said how he would sort of scan these women that and it was just some kind of weird desire that he would just really get off on and it would take him over and he would just do that he did. The rehabilitated heroin addict must always struggle with the craving of wanting to take heroin.

You remember the story of Jonah. We tend to give Jonah a bad rap (and yeah he deserves some) for him not wanting to preach a message of repentance to Nineveh (ancient Assyrians). These Assyrians were wicked, wicked people. They would rip babies from pregnant women and throw babies up in the air and use them as spear target practice.

The reality is, Jay, I don't think we can look at that and say, "I don't see that as any more repugnant than fornication." If the Lord sees different degrees of sin, I think it only follows that we also see differences.

Another thing, is I have a greater hatred and moral repugnance of my own sin than any other wicked sinner. There are different degrees and types of sins. I have a greater hatred of my own sins than others.

So, I think clearly, there are different types of sin, different degrees of sin, and different hatreds of sin. And to say that all sin is equal in either type, degree or hatred, is an argument I don’t think can be made from Scriptures.

Kate said...

Carlo, I see what you're saying... but scripture says that if you have broken any part of the law, you have broken the whole law. So if one tells a lie, in God's eyes, it is just as sinful, just as dirty and sinful to Him as if we go out and shoot someone.

I also know what you mean about your own sin being more repugnant than any sins that anyone else commits. I feel that way about your sin too. (lol, just kidding, of course). Seriously, We are supposed to be repulsed by ANY sin, but especially by our own. PRAISE THE LORD that we are clothed in Christ and that when the Father sees us, He sees only the perfect, sinless Lamb of God!

Now back to the issue... I agree too that perhaps the reason homosexuality is more repugnant to Christians than heterosexual sin is due to the unnatural nature of it. It is against God's created order. But as Jay said, ALL sin is against God's created order, why is THAT ONE so singled out? Is it idolatry? If so, is it any more idolatrous than fornication?

These are tough questions. I don't know that they can be answered so simply as "it's unnatural."

Jay said...

SSA = Same-sex attraction/attracted. It's a much more neutral term than saying I'm homosexual or gay; those terms have some unhelpful cultural "baggage" that goes along with them. Plus, SSA doesn't imply actions, merely attractions. Spread it around; it'll make conversations about this go more smoothly. ;-)

You said: It is the Lord giving them over to dishonorable passions - no conflict in their heart and mind, no struggle, just a giving over to their dishonorable passions which Paul states.

You see, that just doesn't fit with guys like me. I never actively lived "the lifestyle" (although I'll admit I've stumbled, as we all tend to do in college). When I realized I was SSA (and stopped trying to deny that simple truth to myself), I prayed, I sought Christian support (it could really only be found online, which is sad), and I told my family who rallied around me and became a great group of Christian strength and love (they're awesome, awesome people).

So how was my SSA an example of God giving me over to a dishonorable passion? What makes wanting to sleep with a man more abominable than sleeping with a woman who isn't your wife? In both cases, you're putting your own desires above God's will, worshiping another human body instead of God. That's idolatry.

I'll admit that SSA is a different passion than the heterosexual lust that most people deal with, and it carries with it all sorts of different obstacles and baggage, but really, it's not totally foreign (like the inner workings of a serial killer), and people need to realize that. A Christian who deals with SSA has the same struggles with purity that a straight one deals with. We also has the same desires for love, affection, and companionship, and since marriage is often improbable (though not impossible) for us, we often do need the support of the larger Christian community to face celibacy with contentment and a Christ-centered sense of purpose.

I know you were just responding to Kate's question, but really, I'm just not seeing the Scriptural evidence that explicitly points out homosexuality as a more debased sin than heterosexual fornication. It may have been used as an example in Romans, but that doesn't mean it's the only example.

And even if you disagree with that (which you probably do, and I totally respect that), how does the idea that homosexuality is more perverted than other sexual sins play out in the practical matters of witnessing to and discipling those who deal with SSA? If it doesn't play out at all, then does the idea have any merit? For me, the most effective method I've seen is when we're treated just like any other person struggling with sexual sin. But I'll admit this is my own personal (and thus limited) experience.

NoLongerBlind said...

If I may chime in, speaking for Carlo, he's simply referring to the Romans 1:26-27 passage where "women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts....."
Fornication and adultery are not referred to as "unnatural" acts in this way.

CR said...

Kate:But as Jay said, ALL sin is against God's created order, why is THAT ONE so singled out?

It's not a topic that is singled out. It just happens to one of the topics of the day, and I thought I would chime in. Dan talks about other sins to.

CR said...

I agree with NLB.

CR said...

I meant to say say, other things, "too" in case Kate corrects my grammar.

Jay said...

Fornication and adultery are not referred to as "unnatural" acts in this way.

Right, but that doesn't mean they aren't. It just means that Paul didn't use them as an example in that passage. Homosexuality occurs in nature amongst animals too, and like I said, there likely are biological components to it in humans (just like there is a biological drive in most men to be promiscuous). I'm just looking for what practical implications dividing homosexuality away from other sexual sins has in terms of witnessing and discipleship.

If we don't treat the struggling homosexual any differently than the struggling heterosexual (and we shouldn't), then is there any point in saying that one's desires are more perverted/unnatural/debased than the other's? What function does that serve?

Forgive me for being hopelessly pragmatic. :)

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Libbie: "The church must answer the question the current age throws at it."

Long ago, God in His Word has definitively and transcendently answered the question the current age has thrown at the Church: Is same-sex behavior a sin?

The Church has clearly stated that God's Divine Word declares that it is sin.

However, the problem is this: The liberal church and many non-Christians strongly disagree with this answer.

So biblical Christians fight a cultural war on two fronts. One within the Church, and one outside the Church. The internal civil war is painful.

The LibProts, Emergers, and LibCatholics are appeasers, accommodaters, Salt-less, Light-less, lovers of the world.

CR said...

Dan:Increasingly, Biblically-faithful Christians have begun to mount a different response than proving homosexuality not to be hard-wired. We've focused on arguing that it doesn't really matter, morally. The specific case I've made, a number of times, is that we're all hard-wired for sin.

Trying to get back on topic, this is probably the argument we should be making and if we're in the non-political public arena many make that argument.

I think why some have made nature or nurture argument is because knowing our culture they will say if someone is born that way, then it must be legal and we have to teach that in the schools also. No scientist is going to try to dig up science to prove that rapists are born rapists.

But anyway, morality, righteousness and wickedness is not determine from within us but from without, what God says is wicked and what He says is right. Our image is pretty marred but sometimes that image will rightly reflect what is right and wrongly reflect what is wrong. But when you think about it, it's a really good opportunity to present the gospel. You get people wanting to say that homosexuality is nature and you say, well, but you know what, that's not relevant because God says it's wrong and then the person says, what, how can God allow someone to be homosexual and then you say, well, God created us to enjoy Him and worship but we exchanged Him for ourselves and the result was sin and so on and so on.

These kinds of issues are good starts for building a framework for the gospel by explaining creation and then sin and building that framework to introduce the gospel message.

Libbie said...

TUAD, I don't at all disagree that the question does have an answer. I and many others, including Jay, have made some pretty enormous life-choices based on the clarity with which the word of God presents that answer.

I certainly agree, and indeed my point was that we need to set up our battle camp at the point where we are actually being assaulted by those who would call evil, good, be they outside the walls of the church, or within it.

One of the arrows that will get flung our way is the accusation that we're fixated on this one sin, which is a bit like someone being accused of being obssessed with their neck when they're trying to prise an assailant's hands from it.

I've been dealing with this just this past week, with Christian people who based their objections to SSA in grounds other than what the bible says, and they are coming unstuck because they know a lovely same sex couple. It's not the same as the teenagers they know who are sleeping together, because there's no particularly powerful lobby within the church saying that fornication isn't actually a sin.

I'm waffling now, been up quite late into the night with some family trouble, but I hope that clarifies what my point was.

Daniel Brito said...

I think that the problem is that we Christians sometimes by not wanting to offend, tend to minimize the severity and consequences of certain sins. Fornication and adultery are both sins because they are done outside of marriage, but the “acts” are natural. Homosexuality is a sin because it’s done outside of marriage, and because the “acts” are unnatural, just like the apostle Paul says, and that is because it was never intended by God for two man or two women to have sex. The tools are the same. It’s like changing a tire using a tire. But Jay, you are not among those mentioned in Romans 1, because even though you say that you tried it while in College, that’s in your past and you’re washed in the Blood of Jesus. You’re struggling with SSA which is your temptation, but temptation is not a sin until we fall into it. All Christian men and women fight some type of temptation, but the key is to overcome temptation.
The LORD bless you.

DJP said...

I've been very busy, but have had this in mind.

Daniel basically said what I was going to say, in responding to RT and others.

I think most of us have an instinctive reaction to something that we know is just-not-right, something that is a twisting or a perversion of what we know to be the norm. But I'd not invest that instinctive reaction with any kind of canonical authority. Sometimes it's wrong, sometimes right.

But there is a difference (as Daniel said) between fornication and homosexuality.

Both are sin. Both merit God's wrath. Both are deviations from God's norm.

However, when a man sexually desires a woman, his desire is something that can be fulfilled in a holy and God-honoring way. If not with THAT woman, with SOME woman; if not NOW, then AFTER MARRIAGE.

When a man sexually desires a man, or a woman a woman, he is a desire which can never be fulfilled in a holy and God-honoring way. Not now, not ever; not here, not anywhere. Not under any circumstances. He was not designed for it. It is contrary to nature, as created by God.

Now, to open a VERY large topic, God judges societies. They have societal sins. Acceptance of what offends God is a mark of such a society, as the OT sounds again and again.

Sodom had evidently gotten to where homosexuality (among other things) no longer caused that response of revulsion. It was embraced. That embrace brought judgment on that society.

Jay said...

Sodom had evidently gotten to where homosexuality (among other things) no longer caused that response of revulsion. It was embraced. That embrace brought judgment on that society.

I kind of was under the assumption that the acceptance of gang-rape was the main problem there, or would God not have judged Sodom so severely if the mob had been asking to rape Lot's two daughters? Not trying to be sarcastic here. It's just that when I look at Sodom's sins, I don't see homosexuality, I see sexual violence.

For me, I know that my sexual desires can't be fulfilled. That's really the only difference I see between myself and a straight brother or sister in Christ (and even straight folks don't always marry). It's not like SSA just includes sexual desire. I desire companionship and affection just like anyone else. It's finding that kind of wholesome yet profoundly meaningful and Christ-centered friendship which is probably the unique challenge among SSA folks (or at least for those of us who don't marry).

RT said...

Yet Ezekiel says that the sin of Sodom was, oddly enough, not sodomy but failure to "strengthen the hand of the poor and needy," or something like that - I was reading in Ezekiel a couple of days ago and don't have it immediately to hand. Certainly agree with Daniel that Jay is not among the condemned in Romans 1, who are obviously unbelievers, who were "turned over" to such lusts apparently by God - rather the form of punishment than the cause - or maybe both? I would be very leery of the "it's just not right" approach, given that miscegenation was "just not right" for many years, and there are probably other examples. The "natural" versus "unnatural" argument is somewhat compelling although my original query was not so much about homosexuality versus fornication, but sexual sins versus non-sexual sins in general. Without for the moment excusing any flavor of sexual sin I would modestly propose that our Western culture is as ripe for judgment of its greed, acquisitiveness, selfishness and for the murder of the unborn as it is for any of its deviant sexual proclivities. That passage in Ezekiel (chapter 16 I think) weighs upon me in this regard. I mean, here is a flagrant, disgusting exhibition of sexual degradation - both in what the men of Sodom did and what Lot proposed doing with his virgin daughter - and Ezekiel just slides by it and condemns the Sodomites' selfishness instead.

DJP said...

No, homosexuality is very prominent in the Sodom narrative, Jay. It's a mistake to treat it as if it were peripheral. It isn't a mistake that the church has read the passage that way, nor that the word "sodomy" derives thence.

What Ezekiel says is, "They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it" (Ezekiel 16:50). Which abomination? Rampant homosexuality, which is alluded to again in Jude 7.

There is no redeeming or "prettying up" homosexual desire per se, any more than pederastic (if that's a word) nor bestial; and I'd advise abandoning the effort. Dead end. Much better things to be done with one's energies and time.

Jay said...

I'm not trying to "pretty up" anything, Mr. Phillips. Where does it look like I am? I'm just saying that rape is probably more of an abomination to God than a consensual sexual relationship. And why bring pederasty or bestiality into the mix? There's a very different practical approach to be taken with someone who has a sexual desire for children or animals (and it usually involves intensive therapy), verses one who has SSA.

So no, I'm not trying to "pretty up" anything. However, people have a tendency to feel smug about their temptations ("Oh, well I may want to fornicate but at least I'm not as perverted as that"). I absolutely refuse to have that type of attitude cast upon me just because I fancy the wrong sex, when in almost all practical applications my struggle is no different than a heterosexual's.

If homosexuality is more abhorrent and unnatural than heterosexual sin, than what use is that knowledge? What do we gain from it, and how do we use it to witness to and disciple those who are SSA? Because, like I've said, the most practical and helpful ministries I've seen are ones that deemphasize the differences between SSA and heterosexual lust.

Trust me, it isn't good for a 12-year-old kid to go around being told he's as messed up as a pedophile, but his straight friends aren't.

DJP said...

That you would ask me why bring pederasty and bestiality in suggests to me that you didn't read my previous thoughtfully enough, or I think the connection would be obvious. They are the same, in that they are three sets of desires that can never be morally indulged.

Talk about smugness and all is really beside the point. The point of discussion was how homosexuality is singled out as contrary to nature, and why it is sometimes singled out at all.

I've offered my answer.

And yes, I think it's very helpful. It's helpful to know that these are dead-end desires, not desires to be toyed with, played with, hovered-as-close-as-possible-without-being-burned. If someone were tempted to pederasty, I'd say don't take a position in children's church, don't take a job at a day care, etc. Don't form relationships that excite perverse desires in a game of moth-and-flame. It's a dead end. Bridge out. Don't go there.

That's very useful knowledge when you're debating about whether to set foot on the bridge or not.

Jay said...

It's helpful to know that these are dead-end desires, not desires to be toyed with, played with, hovered-as-close-as-possible-without-being-burned.

That implies that there are desires to be toyed with, and surely there aren't. A straight unmarried man has to be equally wise about not going to a bar full of young, attractive women, not watching that movie with a sex scene, etc. There isn't a sinful desire that isn't dead-end.

It really is the same for a guy like me. Like I said, I already know that homosexuality can never be indulged, and that's the only difference between myself and my straight friends. I guess since I'm in college I don't see the difference as much because we're all single and striving for purity. I guess the "dead-end" nature of homosexuality means that dealing with the issue becomes less about sex and more about trusting God with my future happiness and contentment (since marriage is possible in the future but not probable). I hope you're at least seeing where I'm coming from here. I think we already pretty much agree about everything. :)

Hope you had a nice Reformation Day. :)

Mike Riccardi said...

...the issue becomes less about sex and more about trusting God with my future happiness and contentment...

I think that's huge, Jay. And the great thing is, He desires your own ultimate happiness and perfect contentment to be in Him. I would hate to think that someone struggling with SSA is thinking, "Well, I guess God just wants me to be unhappy for the rest of my life. And if that's what it takes, well, He means that much to me, so that's what I'll do."

I tell you, that's not at all what He wants. Certainly it's better to struggle than indulge in an incontinent manner, but God is in the business of showing Himself so glorious that He can simply give Himself to us to be enjoyed, and have all our desire terminate in that. Then, the obedience is no longer a struggle, but a privilege. And only then is God truly honored by our obedience, because it is an obedience that He Himself inspires and provides, and not something that we muster up with clenched fists.

I realize that takes time, though. And I really have no idea how great the struggle is with homosexuality, having never been through that. And I have no idea whether you're doing this, but don't sell Him short by thinking that your condemned to a life of non-fulfillment. Pray that you'd find in Him all of your fulfillment. And it may be the case that He'll replace the desires you now have for men for women, and that one day you may enjoy the blessings of a wife and a family, and sexual desire that can be fulfilled in a God-honoring, Christ-exalting way.

Jay said...

I would hate to think that someone struggling with SSA is thinking, "Well, I guess God just wants me to be unhappy for the rest of my life. And if that's what it takes, well, He means that much to me, so that's what I'll do."

Well, I think the main struggle for SSA guys is trying to not think that way. It's difficult, especially when you're at the age where your friends are starting to pair off and, well, you aren't. :) It's hard to find one's place in the church (at least in the rural South), as a single man.

Trying to find fulfillment in Christ really is my main goal right now, and I don't want it to depend on whether or not I ever become attracted to women and get married and have children of my own. That's not the be-all-end-all of life's blessings. And that's where the trust comes in. I want to trust that even if I lead a completely celibate life that I don't view that as a "worst-case scenario," or even a "second-best" option, but go about it happily, confidently, and unashamed.

...And now I have totally just made this comment thread about me. Shutting up now. :)

Granny said...

I'm a couple of days behind, but I appreciated your post and am linking to it today...

Dan said...

Outstanding post Dan!